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Join host Paul Shapiro as he talks with some of the leading start-up entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike using their businesses to help solve the world’s most pressing problems.

Feb 15, 2024

If you’ve spent any time in the startup ecosystem, you start realizing pretty quickly that the US isn’t alone in producing a lot of startups, but that there are some very small countries, like Israel and Singapore, that consistently punch above their weight when it comes to new company creation. In fact, Israel is often known as the startup nation, and there’s even a popular book on the topic with that very title. 

And if you’re in the startup food technology space, whether in Israel or elsewhere, there’s one name you’re sure to know: The Kitchen

Founded a decade ago, The Kitchen has incubated some of the best known alt-protein startups out there, from cultivated meat-maker Aleph Farms to precision fermentation alt-dairy company ImaginDairy, to plant-based egg creator Zero Egg, and more. As you’ll hear in this conversation, The Kitchen invests seven-figures in each startup that joins its incubator in addition to providing lab space, culinary equipment, governance and corporate setup advice, and more. 

For the past decade since its founding, The Kitchen has been run by the same CEO, Jonathan Berger, and we’ve got him on the show this episode. Under his tenure, the incubator has made 27 investments in startups that have ultimately gone on to raise about $350 million USD. 

In this conversation, Jonathan and I talk about everything from why Israel is so startup-friendly, to why it has so many vegetarians, to why the alt-meat industry has hit such a rough patch around the world, and how the Hamas massacre on October 7th has affected the Israeli startup community. It’s a riveting discussion with someone who’s been at the helm of the Israeli food tech space for many years.

Discussed in this episode

More about Jonathan Berger

Jonathan is one of the pioneers of the Israeli food tech community and has led The Kitchen, the first Israeli food tech incubator, since its inception in 2014. The Kitchen, owned by the Strauss Group and supported by the state of Israel, has been investing in early-stage Israeli food tech startups aiming to support “Better Industry, Better Food, Better World.”

Since Jonathan has been leading The Kitchen activity, the portfolio grew to 26 startups who have raised capital of over $340M.

Jonathan brings a unique combination of experience in tech and food businesses serving in leadership positions. He founded and is still a director in Copia-Agro, an early stage ag tech fund. Jonathan is a board member in Aleph Farms, ImaginDairy, Amai Proteins, Zero Egg, and other food tech startups built by The Kitchen.

Jonathan holds a BSc in Industrial Engineering & an EMBA from Kellogg and Tel-Aviv University.